A Prick in a Poke: Penises and the Preconscious Mind

Andrew Buhr pointed me to Jesse Bering’s  article over at scientificamerican.com. It’s an interesting popsci review of sexsomnia (i.e, sex while asleep), and all the awkwardness, legal and otherwise, arising therefrom. The dude in France who anally raped his employee because the employee’s somnambulistic behavior led him to believe the act was consensual; the other […]

Posted in: neuro, scilitics by Peter Watts 66 Comments

To Intensify Heinlein…

…Democracy is based on the idea that a million idiots can make a better decision than a single intelligent person. I suppose the obvious rejoinder would have something to do with sour grapes. Still, the following facts are not in dispute: this is the first government in Canadian history to have been found in contempt […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 88 Comments

Extraordinary Claims

I’ve had a fondness for Daryl Bem ever since his coauthored paper appeared in Psychological Bulletin back in 1994: a meta-analysis purporting to show replicable evidence for psionic phenomena. I cited it in Starfish, when I was looking for some way to justify the rudimentary telepathy my rifters experienced in impoverished environments. Bem and Honorton […]

Posted in: evolution, fringe, scilitics by Peter Watts 44 Comments

“… And an Almost Fanatical Devotion to the Pope”: or, Truthiness Goes Technical

Okay, let’s do this. The author is Satoshi Kanazawa. The Journal is the Social Psychology Quarterly. And the paper is “Why Liberals and Atheists are More Intelligent“. Ignore for the moment that first stirring of doubt (more intelligent than what? Isn’t that kind of a glaring omission in a title?) because after all, it comes […]

Posted in: ass-hamsters, evolution, scilitics by Peter Watts 91 Comments


As in Post Script, Climate Shift, and Bull Shit. I really wasn’t expecting so many responses (getting boinged obviously ramped up the amplitude a bit). There have been hosannas and trolls and yes, some well-taken objections to my last post, both here and around teh tubes. Once again, some of my responses are too long […]

Posted in: climate, scilitics by Peter Watts 31 Comments

Because As We All Know, The Green Party Runs the World.

I’m going to make a bit of an exception today. There were other newsworthy items after my heart (Jason Stackhouse — yes, you read that right — sent me an intriguing link on insect intelligence, and who could resist the creation of the first cat-based AI?). But I’ve decided instead to weigh in on this UCR […]

Posted in: climate, scilitics by Peter Watts 119 Comments

Will No One Rid Us of This Troublesome Priest?

I think I might want to be an American. I don’t say this easily. The acid shit-soup aftertaste of the Cheney administration still burbles at the backs of our throats; deregulated dominoes continue to topple the world over; Rush Limbaugh is yet taken seriously by an alarmingly large army of devotees. And yet, I can’t […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 18 Comments

Ogling Obama, Defending Dubya

It’s pretty hard to escape a feeling of pervasive optimism today. We have witnessed perhaps the first-ever presidential inaugural address to contain the phrase “data and statistics”. We heard Obama add “nonbelievers” to the usual Christian-Jew-Muslim litany trotted out in deference to the diversity of the melting pot. We heard the most powerful noncorporate person […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 19 Comments

This is the Way the Year Begins

…Not with a Bang but with a Rant. Christmastime in the Watts household has always been a time for impotent fury. It is a time to reconnect with old friends seen only during this special season, career biologists who stuck it out and stayed the course and got good steady jobs at universities and federal […]

Posted in: rant, scilitics by Peter Watts 17 Comments


Thank you all, for your thoughts on the best Hollywood faces to graft onto my characters. There are some great suggestions there; some head-slappingly perfect, some popular but utterly mysterious (Ellen Page as Lenie? What am I missing?), and some of limited utility but nonetheless entertaining. I will steal shamelessly from you all. But in […]

Posted in: ink on art, public interface, scilitics by Peter Watts 4 Comments